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tv   Sanjay Gupta MD  CNN  April 28, 2012 1:30pm-2:00pm PDT

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by a car. he's now in the hospital. and if you're wondering, that purse didn't have any money in it. >> that will do it for me. cnn newsroom continues at the top of the hour with don lemon. up next, sanjay gupta m.d. more than 30 years ago there was a big push by the doctors and the government to get people to eat less fat. that was to lower the rate heart disease. but along to keep foods tasting good, in went more sugar. here we are, today, we as a nation are more unhealthy than ever. not to mention fatter. you have heard a lot of theories as to why, but one in particular is getting a much closer look. it's about sugar. everybody knows too much is bad, but i have been surprised to see just how bad. i did this investigation with
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cbs and 60 minutes and it begins with thepede a pediatric endocrinologist who said we're poisoning ourselves with sugar. >> sugar toxic? >> i believe it is. >> do you ever worry that that just sounds a lillal over the top? >> sure. all the time. but it's the truth. >> dr. robert is a pediatric endocrineologist and a pioneer in what is becoming a war against sugar. >> deep breaths. >> motivated by his own patients, too many sick and obese children, the doctor has concluded that sugar, more than any other substance, is to blame. >> what are all of these various diseases that you say are linked to sugar? >> obesity, type two diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease itself. >> he said the american lifestyle is killing us. >> and most of it, you say, is
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preventable. >> 75% of it is preventable. >> while the doctor has published a dozen scientific articles on the evils of sugar, it was his lecture on youtube called sugar, the bitter truth, that brought his message to the masses. >> i'm standing here today to recruit you in the war against bad food. >> by bad food, the doctor means the obvious things such as table sugar, honey, syrup, sugary drinks and desserts, but also just about every processed food you can imagine. where sugar is often hidden, goingerts and sauces, bread, even peanut butter. what about the manmade often vilified sweetener, high fructose corn syrup. >> is it worse than table sugar? >> no, it's the same thing. they're basically equivalent. the problem is they're both bad. they're both equally toxic. >> since the 1970s, sugar
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consumption has gone down nearly 40%. but high fructose corn syrup has more than made up the difference. the doctor says they're both toxic because they both contain fructose. that's what makes them sweet and irresistible. >> we love it. we go out of our way to find it. i think one of the reasons evolutionarily is there's no food stuff on the planet that has fructose that is poisonous. to you. it's all good. so when you taste something that's sweet, it's an evolutionary darwinian signal this is a safe food. >> we were born this way? >> we were born this way. >> central to his theory is that we used to get our fructose mostly in small amounts of fruit. which came loaded with fiber, that slows absorption and consumption. who can eat ten oranges at a time. but as sugar and high fructose corn syrup became easier to
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produce, we started georging on them. americans consume 130 pounds a year. he believes that's helping fuel an increase in the most deadly disease in america, heart disease. he's been a controversial voice. >> here is our oral isotope. >> but now, studies done by kimber stanhope at the university of california davis are starting to back him up. she's in the middle of a groundbreaking five-year study which has shown strong evidence linking high fructose corn syrup consumption to an increase in risk factors for heart disease and stroke. added calories from sugars are different from calories from other foods. the mantra you hear from most nutritionists is a calorie is a calorie is a calorie. >> i think the results of the study show clearly that is not true. >> stanhope's conclusions
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weren't easy to come by. nutrition studies are expensive and difficult. she has paid groups of research subjects to live in the hospital wing for weeks at a time under a sort of 24-hour lockdown. they under go scans and blood tests. every calorie meticulously weighed and prepared. >> they're never out of our sights, so we do know that they are consuming exactly what we need them to consume. >> and they're not sneaking any candy bars on the side? >> exactly. >> for the first few days, they eat a diet low in added sugars so baseline blood levels can be merxed. >> you have to finish all of your cool-aid. >> then 25% of the calories are replaced with sweetened drinks and they start drawing blood every 30 minutes around the clock, and the blood samples, they reveal something disturbing. what are you starting to see? >> we found that the subjects that consumed high fructose corn
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syrup had increased blood levels of ldl cholesterol and other risk factors for cardiovascular disease. >> how quickly did the changes occur? >> within two weeks. >> her study suggests when a person consumed too much sweet stuff, the liver gets overloaded with fructose and convirts some of it into fat. some of the fat ends up in the blood stream and helps generate a dangerous cholesterol called ldl. these are known to lodge in blood vessels, form plaque, and are associated with heart attacks. >> did it surprise you when you first got the results back? >> i would have to say i was prized because when i saw the data, i started drinking and eating a whole lot less sugar. i would say the data surprised me. >> imagine for the healthy young people drinking a sweetened drink might be just as bad for the hearts as the fatty cheese burgers we have been warned about since the 1970s.
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that's when a government commission mandated that we lower fat consumption to try to lower heart disease. >> with the best of intentions, they say time to reduce fat in the american diet. >> exactly. >> and we did. >> and guess what? heart disease, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and death are skyrocketing. >> the doctor believes that's primarily because we replaced a lot of that fat with added sugars. >> when you take the fat out of the food, it tastes like cardboard. the food industry knew that, so they replaced it with sugar. >> the idea that sugar increases this particularly bad ldl, the small denls particles associated with heart disease, do most doctors know this? >> no, they do not knee this. this is new. >> it turns out sugar has become a major focus in cancer research, too. lewis is looking at the connections. >> if you limit your sugar, it decreases your chances of
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developing cancer? >> absolutely. >> cantly, a harvard professor and the head of the cancer center said when we eat or drink sugar, it causes sudden spike in the hormone insulin, which is serve as a catalyst to fuel certain types of cancers. >> what we're beginning to learn is that insulin can cause adverse effects in various tissues. a particular concern is cancer. >> why? nearly a third of some commoncanters have insulin receptors on the surface. insulin binds to the receptors and signals the tumor to start consuming glucose. every cell in our body needs glucose to survive, but the trouble is these cancer cells also use it to grow. >> so if you happen to have a tumor that has insulinreceptors on it, then it will get stimulated to take up the glucose in the blood stream.
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it goes into the tumor, and the tumor uses it to grow. >> so you've seen the tumor turn blue, which is essentially reflective of the glucose going into it. >> that's right. >> these cancers much in the same way that muscle will say, hey, i'd like some of that glucose, the falt says, i would like some of that gleekose, the cancers have learned how to do that as well? >> yes, they have evolved the ability to hijack that flow of glucose going by in the blood stream into thetumeterself. >> they're working on developing drugs that will cut off the glucose supply to cancer cells can chemothem from growing. until there's a breakthrow, his advice, don't eat sugar. if you must, keep it to a minimum. >> in fact, i live my life that way. i rarely eat sugar. when you see a sugary drink or if i were to offer you one, with all that you know, what's going through your mind?
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>> i probably would turn it down and get a glass of water. >> but for most of us, that's easier said than done. >> turns out sugar is much more addictive than we had realized early on. >> eric, a neuroscientist at the oregon research institute is using functional mri scanners to learn how our brains respond to sweetness. >> sugar activates the brain in a special way that is very reminiscent of a drug like cocaine. >> that's right, cocaine. >> let's give it a shot. i climbed into the scanner to see how my brain would respond. that's a straw that's been rigged to deliver a tiny sip of soda into my mouth. >> okay. >> just as it hit my tongue, the scanner detected increased blood rushing to certain regions of my brain. in these images, the yellow areas show that my reward region is responding to the sweet taste. dopamine, a chemical that controls the brain's pleasure center, is being released, just
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as it would in response to drugs or alcohol. >> dopamine is released. that makes me feel good. i'm experienced some pleasure from having this. >> that euphoric effect. >> far be it for people to realize this because sugar is everywhere, but you're saying this is one of the most addictive substances possibly that we have. >> it is certainly is good at firing the reward regions in our brain. >> by scanning hundreds of volunteers, he's learning that people who frequently drink soda or eat ice cream or other sweet food may be building up a tolerance like drug users do. as strange as it sounds, that means the more you eat, the less you feel the reward. the result, you eat more than ever. >> if you overeat these on a regular basis, it causes changes in the brain that basically it wants your rewand region to respond to the food, so you eat more and more to achieve the
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same satisfaction you felt originally. >> we wanted to hear from the sugar industry, so we visited george simon sugar cane farm in louisiana. >> would it surprise you that every scientist we talked to said they're eliminating all added sugars, getting rid of it because they're concerned about the health impacts? >> to say that the american consuming public is going to completely eliminate sweeteners out of their diet, i don't think gets us there. >> simon cautions that eliminating sugar wrongly vilifies one food rather than working toward the long term solution of reducing calories and exercising. >> a lot of people, jim, are saying sugar is different. it's bad for your heart and causing a lot of problems we're talking about. it is addictive and in some cases might even fuel cancers. you have looked at this. you must have looked at some of the studies. what do you say about that?
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>> science is not completely clear here. >> some of the studies exist. i mean, what does a consumer make of all that? >> i would say to them that they have got to approach their diet in balance. >> the doctor agrees, we need a balanced diet, but his idea of balance is a drastic reduction in sugar consumption. he co authored an american heart association report recommending men should consume no more than 150 calories of sugar a day, and women, just 100 calories. that's less than the amount in just one can of soda. >> ultimately, this is a public health crisis. when it's a public health crisis, you have to do big things and you have to do them across the board. tobacco and alcohol are perfect examples. we have made a conscious choice that we're not going to get rid of them but we are going to limit their consumption.
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i think sugar belongs in this exact same waste basket. >> after that story first ran, we did hear back from the sugar association. they say it boils down to this, you can only fight obesity with a combination of changes to your diet and more exercise. and of course, i think everyone agrees with that. they sent us a letter that said we should try to focus on total calories. too many calories remain the cause of a myriad of illnesses facing americans. again, that's a statement from the sugar association. now, one way people try to cut calories is to use sugar substitutes. a question a lot of people ask, are they better than the real thing or could they be even worse? if you are one of the millions of men
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board nutrition specialist. we get a lot of questions about the sugar sube stutes. the message is getting out there. you say the sugar substitutes are not all the same. can you explain the different types? >> it's really important to understand there's natural and artificial sweeteners and sugar substitutes. when most of the concerns that people have are around the five fda approved artificial sweeteners, but it's important to understand the these are all different. they have different chemical makeups and they're handled differently by the body. some are completely broken down. some are not. you can't lump them into one thing if you have concerns about them. >> from a nutrition standpoint, is a natural sweetener like stevia better than an artificial sweetener? >> i think that point is up for debate. we don't really know. most people do, most nutrition experts believe the more natural alternatives are better, but
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just because something is natural doesn't mean it's good for you, and in larger amounts. i think if you tend to prefer more natural products, it's the way to go, but it's not compl e completely risk-free. you have to consume things in moderation, which we tend to say all the time. >> it's a message everyone agrees on. one of the specific things people ask about the artificial sweeteners is can they cause cancer? this has come up over and over again. studies i have seen don't seem to support the theory. what is your take? any reason people should think sugar substitutes cause it? >> the studies i have seen and the national cancer institute has seen and the new european food safety study, they all point to the fact in humans, there is no compelling evidence. it's really more a very few animal studies and in the case of saccharin, there was an animal stud ain the 70s that shows it causes bladder cancer in rats, but it wasn't even a
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mechanism that was possible in humans. at this point, we don't have convincing research. this is more hype and blown out of proportion. >> a lot of the sweeteners have been around for a long time. we have been conseeming them. does fake sugar make a person crave more food or calories? i remember a study that found people who drink diet soda tend to weigh more than people who don't. is there a craving component? >> that's a great question. and it's really interesting because a lot of studies show diet soda is linked with overweight. is it that they drink diet soda because they're overweight or because it causes weight gain. some of the artificial sweeteners cause a release of insulin which could make you crave more sugar and they trigger the same addiction like pathways in the brain. there's a potential mechanism, but we don't know the answer at this point.
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>> good advice. i'll have you back soon. thanks. >> thanks, great to see you. >> and still ahead, really fascinating story to share with you. i'm going to introduce you to the transplant surgeon who became a better doctor after needing a transplant himself. stay with us. thank you so much, i appreciate it, i'll be right back. they didn't take a dime. how much in fees does your bank take to watch your money ? if your bank takes more money than a stranger, you need an ally. ally bank. no nonsense. just people sense. see lioutdoors, or in.ight. transitions® lenses automatically filter just the right amount of light. so you see everything the way it's meant to be seen. maybe, even a little better. experience life well lit, ask for transitions adaptive lenses.
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dr. zayas began his life as a priest, but he soon found his true calling in medicine as a transplant surgeon. little did he know he would soon need the expertise of his colleagues to overcome a rare and deadly disease. >> we just came back. we celebrated 15 years of wonderful marriage. at the eiffel tower. >> for this doctor, this wedding anniversary celebration almost didn't happen. you see, three yoors ago, this transplant surgeon made a shocking discovery. his limp nodes were swollen and
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he suspected he had sacancer. his fears were confirmed and his diagnosis, a rare form of blood cancer. >> it's difficult to treat and has a poor prognosis. >> when grueling chemotherapy failed, the transplant doctor needed a transplant himself, a bone marrow transplant. with bone marrow, it's needed to be almost identical. that's more likely with ethnici ethnicity. the pool of hispanics in the united states represents only about 10% of the mobone marrow registry. in his case, a close match was found, and then the person backed out. >> people join the regsty for people they love, but when they get a call for a stranger, their answer is, i'm afraid, i can't do it. >> doctors took another look at his siblings, and while his
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brother wasn't a perfect match, he got the transplant anyway. today, he's back helping patients find organs. he said it was his faith, and the experience has made him a better doctor. >> i'm going to be a better doctor and perhaps a better friend by telling you something that is going to be music to your ears. eat more to weigh less. i'll explain. [ female announcer ] if whole grain isn't the first ingredient in your breakfast cereal, what is? now, in every box of general mills big g cereal, there's more whole grain than any other ingredient. that's why it's listed first. get more whole grain than any other ingredient... just look for the white check.
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